Michael and Carlene Duffy have recently completed the renovation of their family home, a massive task that has been ten years in the making! As the final home reveal is aired on Ready Set Reno, Here, they share their top 5 tips when it comes to renovating.

1. Decide on your non negotiables

  • Michael and I come at design and renovation with different strengths and different priorities which, interestingly makes for quite a successful recipe. It means we tend to zero in and advocate for certain things that we are passionate about. For Michael, it is an ideal layout and visual balance and for me I place a lot of emphasis on colour, texture and accessories. In our kitchen for example,

  • I was adamant our cabinets be a saturated colour and that the handles make a statement. In the laundry, Michael was unswerving on wanting a layout that allowed for a washer and dryer side by side and not stacked, to create a cleaner aesthetic. We also entertain a lot, so it was crucial to both Michael and I that above all else, our fridge and freezer be large enough so it’s not busting at the seams.

2. Look for opportunities for colour and texture

  • Whilst the laundry doesn’t seem like the most glamorous room to design, it’s important it doesn’t become the forgotten room. After you’ve worked out exactly the type of storage you require, look for how you can make this space feel as interesting and inviting as the rest of the home. In our house, we gave this room its own special wall finish, a venetian plaster in a colour independent from the rest of the house.

  • Laying rugs in these task zones adds a soft layer, adds colour, and makes these spaces feel as inviting and as interesting as the bedroom or living room. In the laundry, we used:

    Electrolux 9kg front load washer with SensorWash (EWF9043BDWA)

    Electrolux 8kg Heat Pump Dryer (EDH803BEWA)

3. Consistency doesn’t mean same, same

  • It’s important that as you design and renovate your home, each space feels like it’s part of the one house. This doesn’t mean you should utilise the same colours and materials in every room. In fact, I think the contrary is true. Creating cohesiveness is about making sure the rooms all reflect your own unique stamp, 

  • including “work” zones like the kitchen and laundry, which are often left to feel more clinical. Don’t feel compelled to carry the same tiles, joinery and colours throughout the whole house and look for opportunity to incorporate art, decorative lights, and impactful surfaces.

4. Trends should inspire, not dictate design

  • We look at A LOT of design imagery which provides an enormous amount of influence in our designs. However, the key to making a space feel uniquely yours is to only apply what truly speaks to you. The cut and paste approach will only end up feeling generic and lacking your own unique stamp. The same applies to appliances. We chose all Electrolux appliances in our kitchen and laundry, and I was adamant we needed a 900mm oven and stovetop. And while induction is the popular approach to cooktops at the moment, I was adamant on having a gas cooktop. There’s just something about being able to see and control the flame! Similarly, whilst integrated fridges are a hot item, it’s more important to us that we have a water dispenser that integrated appliances doesn’t allow. Beyond that, I just don’t share the same need for concealed appliances like many people do (especially when the Electrolux appliances are so sleek and well designed), 

  • and understanding those things about yourself is important to know from the get-go so that you don’t get caught up on what’s trending. In the kitchen, we used:

    Electrolux 86cm integrated rangehood (ERI842DSD)

    Electrolux 90cm Multifunction Pyrolytic oven (EVEP916DSD)

    Electrolux 90cm 5 burner gas cooktop (EHG955BD)

    Electrolux 501L stainless steel refrigerator (ERE5047SB)

    Electrolux 425L stainless steel freezer (EFE4227SB)

    Electrolux Built-Under ComfortLift™ Dishwasher (ESF8735ROX)

    Electrolux Combined 70cm trim kit (ETK7070)

5. Plan, plan, plan then be nimble

  • We spend a lot of time in the design phase of our home renovations, working and re-working our space to maximise its functionality and aesthetic impact. It’s important to have your design locked and loaded well ahead of time, firstly so that your builder can accurately quote the job but also so they are not chasing you for decisions and holding up the build.

  • That said, you also need to be on the ready to make swift changes as problems arise (and they will). You are bound to have to make compromises due to unforeseen circumstances. Changes may be big or small but your capacity to react swiftly, calmly and confidently is key. We make a million decisions on the fly, some by force and some by choice, and no one would ever know.

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